|From left: James Hillier students Ryan Lentz and Ryley McManus, James Hillier educator Graham Corrigan, Principal Jessica Rypma and Samantha Stambula, Manager of Education and Outreach, Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy.|
Learning Partnership Brings Cutting-Edge Technology to James Hillier Public School
WEDNESDAY, APR. 20, 2022
tudents in educator Graham Corrigan's Grade 8 class at James Hillier Public School were the first in Ontario to take part in a unique program to enhance STEM learning with an electron microscope, on loan for a couple of weeks from the Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy (CCEM), located at McMaster University, in partnership with its NextGen program and Hitachi's Inspire STEM Education Outreach Program.
|Above: James Hillier students, Ryan Lentz and Ryley McManus train to use the TM4000PLUS portable scanning electron microscope.|
“The goals of the program are to get students interested and immersed in STEM, increase diversity in the field, and expose them at a younger age to some of these tools and technologies so they might decide to pursue the sciences as they move onto secondary school,” said Samantha Stambula, PhD, Manager of Education and Outreach with CCEM, who got the microscope set up in the school’s Learning Commons, and worked with Grade 8 students to train them on how to use it. “It’s amazing how quickly students took to it, and how competently they shared their knowledge with other students at the school.”
Two such students are Ryan Lentz and Ryley McManus, who demonstrated the microscope’s incredible capabilities to other grades at James Hillier Public School.
"The goals of the program are to get students interested and immersed in STEM, increase diversity in the field, and expose them at a younger age to some of these tools and technologies so they might decide to pursue the sciences as they move on to secondary school."
Samantha Stambula, PhD.
Manager of Education and Outreach
Canadian Centre for
“I was interested in science before this, but it wasn’t my favourite subject,” said McManus. “Now I’d say I’m definitely more intrigued by it, and it’s been cool showing other students how the microscope works, especially the younger students.”
The microscope is a TM4000PLUS portable scanning electron microscope, enabling an interactive, hands-on experience for learning electron microscopy and nanotechnology. It’s connected to a computer and can pretty much display any material that isn’t wet to ten-thousand times magnification. Bugs, rocks and other items found outdoors have been especially popular at the school that is named after the scientist and inventor who, in 1938, helped design and build the first successful high-resolution electron microscope in North America.
“Especially at the Grade 8 level, when we’re learning about biology and cells – and the universe as a whole and how we fit into it – having the opportunity to work with a hands-on tool like this is pretty incredible,” said Corrigan, who’s taught at James Hillier for 11 years. “It has the potential to inspire future careers in the sciences and medicine by empowering students now.”
|Above: James Hillier student, Ryan Lentz is interviewed by RogersTV about his experiences using the TM4000PLUS portable scanning electron microscope.|
The microscope and CCEM's NextGen program, in partnership with Hitachi's Inspire STEM Education Outreach Program, will make its way to two more Ontario schools before the end of the year, and then an application process will be put in place for future schools to take part. The program is right in line with Grand Erie’s multi-year strategic plan’s own goals of nurturing curiosity and opportunity for learners.
“Since the Grade 8 students have had the chance to share their learning with the younger grades, it’s helped consolidate their own understanding, instilled pride and ownership in their learning, and given them a leadership role in it,” said Jessica Rypma, principal at James Hillier. “Now they’re inspiring primary students to start thinking about science in a new way and empowering them to continue in STEM too.”
For more coverage of this STEM learning partnership at James Hillier, check out the Brantford Expositor.